Roberto Unger: 00:00:04 So today we are fortunate to have as our guest, uh, Peter Thiel, uh, Peter Thiel is a venture capitalist but also a student of American life, a proponent of American alternatives and the citizen actively involved in the public life of the United States. Our general plan for the class today is to move broadly from a discussion of the knowledge economy and it’s deepening and dissemination, uh, to a larger discussion of political economy and the political economic alternatives for the United States. And I will then ask Peter to begin by introducing himself please…
Peter Thiel: 00:01:03 Professor Unger, Professor West. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a tremendous honor to be here. I know there’s tremendous range of different topics that, uh, that we can, uh, we can cover. Uh, and uh, I want to, um, I want to say a few things about, uh, maybe to start what I see as sort of the status of, uh, um, science and technology in the, in the political economy and the, you know, the simplistic syllogism I have is that if we have enough growth in our society, we can solve all problems. If we don’t have growth, we can’t solve any problems. Um, and then that the, uh, the, the, the real driver of growth for, um, for the developed countries, US, western Europe, Japan, is, uh, is at the, uh, scientific and technological frontier. And so one of the, one of the questions that we should always ask is, what is the health of that frontier? How, you know, how well are things actually working in these fields? And, uh, sort of talks about the science, you know, we have incredible, yeah,
Recently I’ve been reading a lot on early career decision making by people I admire, see links in my newsletter.
While reading Paul Graham’s essay, in particular, I realized the source of a lot of my angst over the past few months. I’ll get back to this later.
First, a quick recap for those who aren’t that close to me. At the end of last spring, I was in a committed relationship with someone I cared deeply about, I was working close to full-time at a well-regarded startup in NYC, and I had an internship offer to work in a supply chain operations role at Amazon for the summer.
As 2018 comes to an end, I’m at one of the lowest points in my life.
Yeah, I said it. Life’s not perfect and not everything is up and to the right.
Despite that, I’d still like to take a moment to recognize I’m incredibly lucky, fortunate, and grateful for the experiences I’ve had and for the relationships I’ve fostered.
Amongst many people, the following have immensely influenced me: NS, Abhishek Pratapa, Ian Neal, Bradley Mitchell, Chris Sha, Robert Neal, Steven Lu, Rustin Chamberlain, Richard Kim, Chad Oda, Hena Patel, Travis Spaulding, and the RES Family.
na·ive·té – (n) lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment.
When I’m impatient I feel like I should have something I don’t have right now. It can be a materialistic good, a job, or a physical attribute. It can also be internal attributes like peace of mind, charisma, or humor.
The one thing that matters: doing what I say I’m going to do when I said I would. Surprisingly, it is incredibly difficult to do this without discipline or meticulously choosing the things I want to do.
There are a few things to take into consideration when making this decision:
Why should I do X?
How long will it take me to do X?
What am I willing to give up to do X? (opportunity cost)
As a human being, I naturally lack discipline and focus. Let’s call this lack of discipline and focus resistance. In physics, we learned an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Sometimes it’s difficult to get in motion when you don’t want to.